Going To The Dogs

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I’m really getting tired of the witch hunt in the USA aimed at smokers. No, smoking is not attractive, nor does it smell good, and it is disgusting, and it’s downright unhealthy for everyone when done indoors. However, there are plenty of other nasty little human habits which, if smoking is going to be targeted, should also be taken aim at. One of those nasty little human habits is flatulating in public.

There is nothing so foul as the idiot who gets on the elevator and farts. Now tell me that isn’t almost as unhealthy as smoking. If I have to hold my breathe for an ascent of 18 floors, chances are I will suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. Another of my pet peeves is the woman (and sometimes man) who is redolent with the scent of improperly matched, and overpowering perfume. The cost of water run in a shower is cheaper than the gallons of perfume some people insist on wearing in public to cover up the need for a nice body douche. And personal habits aside, let’s address the preponderance of diesel SUVs that stink up the air everyday.

In the great state of California, law makers conjured up loopholes designed to allow anyone to drive massive vehicles which not only pollute the air to the point of unhealthiness, but also exploit fossil fuels, are a danger to sensible vehicles on the road and take up two parking spaces to the half one my little car requires. While allowing anyone to drive a vehicle so big it needs its own zip code, California has decided that it is now illegal to smoke a cigarette on the street.
If special interest, allowable pollution weren’t bad enough, another issue has slowly crept its way into California’s mindset – restaurants, public businesses and accommodations which allow the presence of dogs and cats. Never mind that a large portion of the population nationwide has developed allergies to dogs and cats; dogs and cats are showing up at places which should not have dogs and cats in them – eateries. You can be sure that my dollars won’t be spent at a restaurant where I might have to sit next to a dog which is drooling over my lunch.

Pets are slowly taking over the world. Forget over population of humans, it’s all the spare dogs and cats that will end up as masters on this planet.
Both dogs and cats have long been the staple of cartoon illustrators; useful tools who are drawn with moveable mouths which say such clever things. Yet we all know, yes, even those who have not owned canines and/or felines – they do not talk. Not one word. They do not ask for food with linguistic skill. They may practice extreme body language, like charades for pets, they have their way of letting us know that we are no more than human can openers. Yet they do not articulate anything other than what has become known as “bark-alerts”.

You know bark-alerts; that annoying thing where Fluffy 5 doors down may see a squirrel out the back window, and begin barking. Soon, Spot who lives next to Fluffy sees same squirrel and takes up the cause. When Fluffy ceases to see said squirrel, Lance who lives next to Spot now envisions the grand chase and takes up where Fluffy left off. And on and on it goes until each and every dog in the neighborhood has announced the presence of the rodent with the fuzzy tail. And this is not so bad, unless of course, the dogs reside outside and begin the chorus while you are trying to examine the inside of your eyelids for light leaks.

Oh, and dog walkers are another issue. Most places there are laws about picking up your dog’s feces. Dog walkers amble about sidewalks with plastic bags tucked into their clothing so they can pick up Muffy’s droppings from your front lawn – but only if they think you or your neighbor might have seen Muffy leave them next to the mail box. As neighbors proudly walk their miniature Poodles, their Bichon Frise, their Yorkshire Terriers, I wonder to myself: “Oh wither the noble wolf?” Is it any wonder then that the wily coyote has taken to subterfuge, it can not abide being related to the useless and hairless Chihuahua. And no amount of clever, talking Chihuahuas will make me yearn for Taco Bell.

In San Francisco, California, the bastion of single, non parent humans, dogs are the symbol of status. There are more accommodations for dogs made in high end restaurants, boutiques and bistros than there are for the human inhabitants. Yes, you may want a Gucci frock that is costlier than a Rolls Royce and it is possible to take your pooch with you so as to make sure the matching haute couture frock you purchase for Fluffy, fits. To me, this is disgusting! I do not want to spend that kind of cash for an outfit only to find, once I have it home, that it is accessorized by canine hair. And why aren’t dogs made to wear shoes and shirts as they go to that trendy bistro on the corner? Damn it, I have to wear a shirt – if they can be served without one, why shouldn’t I?
On the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, dogs are called Kang Kang. Roughly translated, kang kang means “tasty dog”. And at this rate, a meal of dog might be easier to obtain than let’s say, a salad. A friend of mine married a man from Kenya named Mike. Once they came to America, Mike was obsessed with the amount of space devoted to pet food, supplies, toys and accouterments that are available at every grocery store he went to. In Mikes words: “In Kenya, we only recently have gotten beyond eating stray dogs.” Here in the USA, we take up the cause of doggie over population with ‘Walk A Thons” that raise money to microchip and sterilize cats and dogs. Never mind those homeless folk living under the bridge, dog and cat fundraising allows one to be fashionable while the community watches these good deeds. See, no one knows, nor cares that you flipped that homeless guy at the side of the road a ten spot – other than the homeless guy who just might use it for a place to spend the night. Homeless guys living under the bridge do not lick your face when you get home at the end of the day. Well, maybe they might for a ten dollar bill – and then again, maybe you wouldn’t want them to.

Don’t take this the wrong way; I do not hate dogs. I have owned dogs. Dogs have served many purposes in the evolution of humanity. They have hunted with humans, guarded humans and been transportation for humans. But their day as co-hunters has passed. And in all but the remotest arctic outposts, dogs do not help humans transport from place to place. In fact, because of multi-dog households, the mighty SUV has supplanted the humble car on the streets of America. But dog ownership has passed to a new plane, one which speaks more about pedigree than security or companionship.

Now, I’ve barely touched on cats. People do not generally take their cats for walks. Cats are like pillows with fur, pillows that place themselves in various poses through out the house. First on the sofa and when that is covered in an inch of fur, they retreat to the bedroom, or your pillow. Double pillows ….
Cats are basically nice, pretty creatures who are credited with rodent removal (sans bark-alert) and NEVER would my cat eat an endangered songbird! No, my cat only goes out at night, when birds are asleep, therefore, it can not be a danger to anything other than mice, voles, other cats ….

On the other hand, companion bird owners are a far less numerous group than dog and cat owners. Why this would be I do not know. After all, dogs and cats can not say “Wanker” for the neighbor’s children. Although both dogs and cats can be observed participating in the sport of wanking, neither of them can announce their intentions to wank. And believe me, a parrot that can say “Wanker” to the five year old next door is an asset to a person’s peace and quiet. Parrot ownership is a tenuous relationship. And it has its ups and downs. First of all, a parrot is not owned by a human. The parrot owns the human. If you have a parrot, chances are you have no life outside cleaning up poop from expensive and well loved shirts.

It is the master plan of creation that insects and rodents were created to scavenge from parrots. Every morsel of food that a parrot partakes in ends up by various degrees on the floor, in the drapes, in the companion human’s hair. Only to be shortly followed by insects who are drawn to it.
The up side to having a parrot in the house is that it can amuse it’s human companions in a fine assortment of ways. For example it can say “Little Shit” just as your mother in law is joining you at the dinner table. And parrots are much less prone to begging for food. Just plop whatever it is you are eating into a parrot’s dish and you will have an enchanted friend. And just like you and I, parrots really enjoy sitting in front of the television eating junk food! Plus they don’t complain about the programming.

In the long run, as our human habits are enforceably changed to exclude anything that remotely resembles pleasure, we replace those habits with signs of our exclusivity and acceptance by, our pets. Or the size of our vehicles, or the smell of last nights meal left stealthily on an elevator as we depart it.
I suspect that these circumstances are just another form of NIMBY-isms. It’s really OK for me to indulge in nasty human habits, because they are MY habits. But you can bet that I won’t tolerate YOUR nasty human habits …. now go stub out that cigarette and take Muffy for a walk.

write by rivera

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